The first who mentioned the Cappelletti recipe in history date back to the 13th-century AD, when the priest Salimbene di Adam wrote about this food preparation in his work, “Chronicle”.
Historians agree it is with the 16th-century and with the nascent cuisine of the noble courts that the preparation of the Cappelletti, as well as of any stuffed Italian pasta, sees its official birth. The two chefs of the Este court, Cristoforo di Messisbugo and Bartolomeo Scappi, were the first who mentioned the Cappelletti as a recipe, describing both its shape and its “battuto” or “compenso”, as the inner content is defined.
Like every Italian recipe, the Cappelletti soon left the court kitchen to spread throughout the territory before in Romagna area and then to all the central Italy, becoming one of the most widespread and different recipes of the entire Pensisula.
A not surprising fact, considering that the Cappelletti’s filling, or “compenso” as it is called in Romagna, has become the expression and flavor of the place, allowing different ingredients according to the Italian regions.
Thus at the beginning of the 1900s, Count Giovanni Manzoni in his “The Kitchen of an Ancient Noble Family in Lugo” detects seven different recipes by Cappelletti, the same number that a few years later Pellegrino Artusi will indicate in his “Science in cooking and the art of eating well “, suggesting to stuff them also with ricotta, capon breast or pork loin.
Tradition or not the first official testimony of the Cappelletti Romagnoli dates back to 1811. In that year, in fact, the then Kingdom of Italy promoted an investigation (known as the Napoleonic Inquiry) on the traditions, customs, dialects, and superstitions of the campaigns inhabitants. Based on the information provided by priests, teachers, and mayors was drawn up a final report in which was found a smiling and somewhat mischievous reference to the Cappelletti.
“At Christmas – it is written -“each family makes a pasta soup with ricotta filling which is called Cappelletti. The greed of this soup is so general, especially from the priests, and bets are made for those who eat more, and some come up to the number of 400 or 500“.
Here is the tradition of the world famous Romagna Christmas Cappelletti, a centuries-old tradition that associates them with a dish of boiling broth, generally by capon, and which, like many stuffed pasta of the Emilia-Romagna tradition, prefers to taste them during the winter season.